Community Highlights


Dr. Daniel Mendoza holds a joint appointment in the Pulmonary Division in the School of Medicine, and in the Department of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Utah. His research interests include quantifying and characterizing urban greenhouse gas and criteria pollutant emissions for use in human exposure estimation and metropolitan planning. He also examines the health effects associated with acute and chronic pollutant exposure, particularly in vulnerable populations. He recently joined the Dark Skies team and will focus on the association between dark skies and urban light pollution with air quality and health outcomes. He was previously a professional cyclist in Europe, and currently enjoys Utah’s outdoors by competing in duathlons and snowshoe races.

CDSS works in a number of subject areas with concerted effort to leverage its members’ broad perspectives and varied backgrounds.

Priorities include:

  • atmospheric aspects of dark skies;
  • social equity issues of night sky deficits in disadvantaged populations;
  • citizen science and student intern astronomy and dark sky training; expansion of environmental humanities;
  • dark sky curriculum additions to STEM education;
  • impact of light pollution on human health;
  • planning and policy questions about exterior lighting ordinances and enforcement;
  • impact of light pollution on wildlife and ecosystems;
  • effective lighting and safety issues;
  • retaining community character and building sustainable “Amenity West” communities.

An early example of CDSS’s collaborative work in tourism and outdoor recreation is found in the development of the Great Western Starry Way, a north-south stargazing route from Glacier to Grand Canyon, with guidance to the many scenic places offering the best protected night skies of the Rocky Mountain States and Colorado Plateau, which are, in fact, some of the best dark skies of the world.  Early prototype below.